Applications for reduced rates
The Council of States wants to introduce a new VAT privilege for the hotel industry. It has accepted a motion by Stefan Engler, member of the Bündner CVP Council of States, calling for a "simplification" of packages. These are combinations of services or products that are taxed at different VAT rates. Today, the entire package is taxed at a reduced rate if at least 70 percent is subject to a reduced rate. Such combinations of services occur mainly in the hotel industry: The overnight stay taxed at a rate of 3.7 percent is combined with ski passes, wellness treatments or guided tours to form a package. This means that these services are also subject to the reduced hotel rate.
Engler demands that the threshold for services at the hotel rate be reduced to 55 percent. In his opinion, 70 percent is too high: in many cases, no package can be tied up like this, he said. For Engler it is about more entrepreneurial leeway and the reduction of bureaucracy. This would lead to more growth and employment. The lower threshold does not cost the state anything, since customers will spend the money saved elsewhere.
The Federal Council spoke out against the motion. Finance Minister Ueli Maurer pointed out the unequal treatment of customers: Those who stay in a hotel pay less for certain services. In fact, it was an "additional subsidy for the hotel industry." The Federal Council also wants to prevent a competitive disadvantage for other industries. The next move, which also demands relief, will certainly come, Maurer said.
The Council of States nevertheless approved English's motion by 25 votes to 18. This now goes to the National Council. It is not the first time that the small chamber has shown a heart for the mountain regions. For example, a proposal to exempt snow groomers from mineral oil tax came from their ranks. This will relieve the mountain railways of 13 million francs.
Media release SDA of 12.6.2018, Council of States approves new VAT privilege for the hotel industry.